Choosing a Personal Care Home  
Choosing a personal care home can be a stressful and time consuming job. This Fact Sheet is designed to give you guidance in selecting the best personal care home to meet the needs of the resident and for seeing that the resident receives proper treatment and care after moving into the home.

What is a Personal Care Home?

A "Personal Care Home" is the official name in Georgia for a facility that provides 24-hour watchful oversight and assistance with activities of daily living to those who are at least 18 years old and need this level of care. Facilities also use the terms assisted living or board and care homes. Some activities of daily living are bathing, dressing, grooming, eating and making appointments.

A personal care home is not licensed to provide medical or nursing care, so people requiring continuous medical or nursing services are generally inappropriate to live in a personal care home.

Finding the Right Personal Care Home

Choosing the best personal care home is challenging. The future resident, family members and friends should participate in this process. Those involved in the selection need to consider the medical, practical physical, emotional and financial needs of the future resident. Except in very limited situations, Medicaid does not reimburse or supplement the expense of living in a personal care home.

It is very important that family and friends are able to visit the resident frequently. Whenever possible, locate a personal care home near by so that it is easy to make visits on a routine schedule. Contact the Office of Regulatory Services (ORS), Personal Care Home Section or your local Area Agency on Aging (Triple A) for lists of personal care homes. Your local community ombudsman can help you with this.

After receiving the list of personal care homes in your area, call or write the home and request information about the basic costs, services and other charges that may be required. Review the information and write down questions you have about the information you received. Make an appointment to visit the home and meet the administrator or manager. Ask your questions. Later, go back unannounced for a second look and closer inspection.

What To Look For

  • Licensing:  All facilities that provide personal care services must have a valid permit issued by the Department of Human Resources (DHR). The facility must display this permit in a public place on the premises. If the company owns more than one facility, each home must have its own permit. Check to make sure the facility has not exceeded the capacity indicated on the permit.
  • Safety:  Make sure stairways and hallways are well lighted and free of obstacles that could cause falls. Check the bathrooms for grab bars next to toilets, tubs and showers.  There should be an emergency evacuation plan prominently posted. Staff members should be trained to handle emergencies.
  • Cleanliness:  Check the window sills, counters and table tops for dust and dirt. The kitchen and bathrooms should be clean and free of odors. The facility should be neat and tidy.
  • Medications:  Medications should be stored under lock and key. Check the policy for initial acquisition and refilling prescriptions.
  • Meals:  Visit during a mealtime. Check to see if the menu is being followed and if substitutes are available.
  • Activities:  There should be a regular schedule of appropriate social, community and religious activities provided for the residents. Ask to see the monthly activity schedule.
  • Surroundings:  Flowers, pictures, seasonal decorations and homelike touches are important in providing a happy and comfortable atmosphere for residents. These should be used to decorate the facility.
  • Dignity, Respect and Privacy:  Residents should be treated with dignity and respect. Ask current residents and their family members if staff members are courteous and if they respect the residents' privacy.

IMPORTANT NOTICE

The information contained in this web site applies only to GEORGIA, USA. It is intended only as INFORMATION and does not constitute legal ADVICE, nor does reading, downloading or otherwise using this site create an attorney-client relationship.  Anyone seeking specific legal advice should contact an attorney licensed in the appropriate state, and should never rely upon the information provided herein, or any other web site, for that matter.